Posts from 28th March 2006

28
Mar 06

annals of the pre-net troll: 1880s-1970s

The Brown Wedge1 comment • 305 views

one of the more unsettling — if possibly misleading — epiphanies of being an interweb moderator was the realisation (while reading about Jack T. Ripper, possibly the tiresome p.cornwell’s VERY EXTREMELY RISIBLE anti-sickert case) that the tone an effective troll takes is exactly the tone adopted by the writer(s) of the most famous “i am jack” messages, sent mockingly (and by the sackload) to newspapers and police: jabbingly smug, all faux-surprise at and concern for the reader’s shortcomings in regard to morals, reason, competence, offering help but delivering — at BEST — petty woe and aggravation,

the exposure of “wearside jack” was main subject of a not-that-good yorkshire ripper doc on bbc1 last night: the perpetrator turns out to be pure distillate of sorry loser, of course: a resentful alcoholic loner of no accompishment whatever, however tiny, who craved (as he put it in the police interviews when caught), “publicity” and “notoriety”, without moving out the safe yet infinitely crappy world of his own friendless anonymity

even knowing this, the children of his first victim, listening to a playback of the tapes he sent the west yorkshire police — which caused them to misdirect time and energy on a wrong profile of the killer — still shuddered at the evil they heard: and it’s true, the voice of “wearside jack” on that unwieldy mid-70s real-to-real still makes yr nape bristle… what does it for me, i think, is the complacent confidence in untouchability, a very ugly power balance in communication terms…

which turn out to be complete fiction: here it is now, the exactly same voice out of the mouth of the nobody in question (after conviction and sentencing = eight years for perverting the course of justice); crushed and hopeless and clumsily remorseful in custody — but back to the tape, and it’s still the essence of sinister control

wearside jack had read a book (possibly several) on the ripper, and adapted the historical material he found for his own use — i’m not sure what this means exactly, maybe that the original “i am jack” writer fashioned so strong a template for the voice that anyone can method-think their way into it… or maybe that the template sits unused in all of us, needing only the right combo of isolation and need for isolation to spark it into nasty life